- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 1, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Thank you for running the article “Israel envoy: Outlook for peace talks not ‘particularly bright,’ ” (Web, Oct. 25), which notes Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren’s criticism of the Palestinian Authority’s celebration of terrorists and refusal to rejoin peace talks.

Let’s be clear about what the Palestinian leadership stands for. It has revealed its values to the world by kidnapping then-19-year-old Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, holding him in solitary confinement for 5 1/2 years without access to his family or even the International Red Cross and then ultimately, ransoming him for the release of 1,027 Palestinian terrorists responsible for killing hundreds of innocent Israelis. Indeed, the next time Israel is condemned for acting “disproportionately” in defending its citizens from Palestinian terror, let’s remember that it was the Palestinians who decided one Israeli’s life was worth more than 1,000 Palestinians.

And who did the Palestinians want freed? Aziz Salha, who murdered an Israeli man, Vadim Nourezitz, and then proudly showed off his bloody hands to a cheering Palestinian mob. Husam Badran, who orchestrated the Sbarro pizzeria bombing in Jerusalem, which killed 15 Israelis, the Dolphinarium discotheque bombing in Tel Aviv, which killed 21 people, most of them youths, the Park Hotel Passover Seder bombing, which killed 30, and the Matza restaurant bombing, which killed 15.

Another prisoner released was Walid Anajas, who assisted with the bombings of Jerusalem’s Cafe Moment (11 killed), a gaming club (16 killed) and the Hebrew University cafeteria (seven killed, including American Marla Bennett). Abd al-Hadi Ghanim is another released terrorist; he forced an Israeli bus into a ravine, killing 16 . Yet another is Mona Awana, who lured a lovestruck Israeli boy, Ofir Rahum, to Palestinian terrorists, who then killed him, and still another is Fuad Amrin, who stabbed to death an Israeli girl, Helena Rapp, on her way to school.

No civilized society would condone, much less celebrate, killers of children and of entire families as heroes. But “moderate” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas praised these barbaric murderers as “freedom fighters and holy warriors,” while Hamas promises more kidnappings to free more terrorists.

By contrast, Israel’s willingness to free these terrorist murderers - putting all Israelis at greater risk from future attacks by these newly freed killers - in order to gain the freedom of a single Israeli man demonstrates Israel’s values, especially its high regard for every precious life.

STEPHEN A. SILVER

San Francisco

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